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1951 St. Louis Browns Team Signed Baseball with Eddie Gaedel, Bill Veeck. When Browns owner Bill Veeck got the impression that the diminutive Gaedel might be tempted to swing at a pitch, he warned the three-foot seven inch batter that he had taken out a million dollar insurance policy on his life, and that he would have a rifle's crosshairs trained upon him from the stadium roof should the bat leave his shoulder. Little Eddie would take Veeck's warning to heart, drawing the most famous four-pitch walk in Major League history, stopping twice on his jog to first base to bow to the crowd's standing ovation. American League president Will Harridge was not quite so amused, accusing Veeck of making a mockery of the game and immediately voiding Gaedel's contract. Veeck responded with a threat to demand a ruling on Yankees shortstop and MVP Phil Rizzuto, requiring a determination as to whether Scooter was "a short ballplayer or a tall midget."

Today Gaedel's autograph is considered the most coveted rarity of all post-war Major Leaguers, with just a handful of examples surfacing in the hobby market. Here we find the only known team ball, autographed August 19, 1951, Gaedel's single day of Browns service. His black fountain pen ink signature rates 7/10 on the side panel of the presented OAL (Harridge) sphere, joined by twenty other Browns including Veeck (later signature), Taylor (twice), Tobin, Long, Kennedy, Hogue, Garver and Young. Quality averages 7/10. Scuffing underneath the signatures strongly suggests this was a ball actually used in that famous game, ratcheting up the appeal of a ball with no lack thereof. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.

Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Balls, Pucks, etc. - Encased, Large (view shipping information)

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Auction Dates
August, 2011
4th Thursday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 3,268

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